Category Archives: What’s Cooking

PDF Download Restaurant Employee Handbook

A must have for your restaurant is an up-to-date employee handbook. When new employees arrive they should be given a written set of rules, regulations and policies. This will serve as a reminder to even your long term employees. “House Policies” need to be adhered to for them to be effective and even a small lapse in routine can lead to unacceptable behaviors.

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When developing an employee manual, focus on problem areas that have plagued your restaurant in the past. If cell phones have been an ongoing nuisance, then consider an all out ban on these devices. If smoking cigarettes costs you productive time from your staff, then think about what may make the offenders think twice about lighting up while the rest of the staff is covering their station.

In addition to providing a written account of what a team member should and should not do, a handbook for a restaurant employee should also contain information about benefits, insurance and vacations. Provide as much information as possible and add new updates to your policies as they become available.

A restaurant manual for employees protects your business, while keeping a clear line of communication between the management of a restaurant and its employee base. It should be designed and written with the employees best interests in mind.

Sample Employee Handbook

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Chefs Defined

Executive Chef

The executive Chef is in charge of the kitchen with a full staff at his command. He plans and writes the menus and coordinates all activities pertaining to the kitchen. The executive chef attends daily conferences with other heads of departments related to the food service. It is the Executive chefs responsibility to see that all food served from various kitchens in the establishment is prepared and served according to the companies standards and practices.

Sous Chef

The Sous Chef is second in command and is responsible for the physical aspect of the kitchen operation, including supervision of kitchen personnel as well as the preparation of and serving of food.

Working Chef

The Working chef is in charge of smaller hotels, restaurants and cafeterias. Production may be on a smaller scale, therefore the kitchen staff may be smaller and the working chef takes over a part of a station or an entire station. During serving hours he performs the lead duties of a sous chef except that he both works and supervises.

Chef de Partie – Chef De cuisine

This chef is in charge of a department, such as the fry station, broiler station, Sandwich/Salads. He oversees all activity from a specific area of the production line.

Chef Steward

A chef steward is  needed in Medium to large production kitchens. He is responsible for ordering and receiving all supplies. Largely a daytime position a chef steward meets with sales representatives and suppliers, comparing pricing and quality to ensure the best costs and buying practices.

Banquet Chef

The banquet chef has full charge of breakfast, luncheon and dinner parties or buffets. He is responsible for all stations to which banquet work has been assigned.

Pastry Chef

The pastry chef supervises the pastry department, writes the dessert menus, requisitions materials and schedules the work for his assistants. This chef also is in charge of decorating cakes, making ornamental pieces and figuring & controlling production costs

The Highest Quality Spatulas

ebay4If you are looking for the best metal turners for your grill or restaurant, then Dexter-Russell is the brand you want. Dexter-Russell stainless steel turners offer performance above all other manufacturers. Solid metal spatulas by Dexter Russell are designed for commercial use and combine durability, value and efficiency. These turners are perfect for busy restaurant kitchens and are counted on by chefs who prefer the firm feel of a true heavy duty spatula. Solid 1 piece designed blade offers ultimate reliability. These turners are perfect for flipping burgers, steaks and chicken breasts on your hot grill or they are the ideal accessory for a flat top griddle, turning pancakes, quesadillas and other menu items. A high quality durable stainless steel blade is precision ground and provides a stiff feel with the right amount of flexibility for easilyy handling food. This blade also has a beveled edge making it effortless to scoop steaks and burgers. An impervious sani safe blade-to-handle seal also ensures the utmost in sanitation.

Made in the USA with American manufacturing standards that rank well above the rest of the world.

You would have to buy ten of the ‘Made in China’ spatulas to match just one that is:
MADE IN THE USA

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Items stamped ‘factory seconds’ for minor scratches – All factory seconds items have been inspected for quality, usability and general condition – we accept returns on all items – please refer to our refund policies for details.

Relief For Chafing Sweat Rash

sweat rash instant relief from the pain of chafing rashWhether you are a foodservice worker, a power walker or a politician out shaking hands, you’ve probably experienced the extremely painful “Heat Rash” or sweat rash that is caused by skin rubbing against skin or clothing. It is most common around the inner thigh area and slows you down to a ‘crawl’.

Getting back in the game with instant relief is crucial to keep you in top form.

The Chef Shops Heat Rash Relief is an ideal blend of pure ‘soothing’ cornstarch & absorbent talc and is very lightly fragranced. Its slim design bottle is the perfect size for a front pocket or ladies handbag.

An easy to apply powder, just sprinkle into your hand (about 1 teaspoon) and apply directly to the affected area for instant, long lasting relief. There are dozens of applications per bottle. More serious cases of red sweat rash may require larger applications.

Ideal for chefs and cooks, waitstaff, construction workers and athletes, anyone on the go. Apply prior to a busy day and prevent that painful chafing rash before it starts.

Heat rash is a common condition among chefs, cooks, bartenders and waitstaff. Anyone that spends long hours on the go has experienced the pain caused by the burning red rash that develops when you are sweating excessively and moving quickly. A ‘sweat rash’ can develop anywhere where skin or clothing causes friction. The most common area is the inner thighs. When your legs are rubbing together, the area becomes enflamed with a painful red ‘chafing rash’.

This sensitive condition can result from humid weather during physical activity. Joggers, walkers, construction workers or fast food workers will benefit from the smooth, soothing, instant relief from heat rash. Treat and prevent chafing rashes by applying a small amount (about 1 teaspoon) of The Chef Shops Heat Rash Relief directly to the affected area.

Having over thirty years in the restaurant industry – I’ve found that the only thing that really works is a specific blend of cornstarch and lightly fragranced talc. The cooling ‘smooth glide’ feel of corn starch along with the absorbency of talc will have you back in perfect form for your days work.

I’ve found that gels make matter worse and have an uncomfortable feel. A dry powder is  easier to apply and our slim bottle design is just the right size for your front pocket or handbag.

The Chef Shops Heat Rash Relief is a powder not a gel or cream.

*For external use only, if accidently ingested seek medical help

Mild heat rash will typically subside on its own after several days. If you experience only slight itching or discomfort, you can wait a few days to see how your symptoms progress. No matter the case, you should go to a doctor as soon as the rash becomes worse or if it does not go away. A rash could be a symptom of many different things and could be warning signs of more dangerous conditions.  If you start to experience additional symptoms, you should contact your doctor. Pain, vomiting, fever, breathing difficulty, blisters, bleeding, and blackened skin are all warning signs that you may be experiencing a more severe illness. No matter how minor you think your symptoms are, you should consult a doctor  if you feel the slightest bit of concern.

contains – Pure cornstarch, talc, fragrance

Experience In Catering

Having recently been called on to give a family member a hand with his catering business, I found myself serving up steak and cheese subs, grilled cheese sandwiches, sausage with bell peppers and several other offerings of “festival style foods”. I had worked at similar events in the past and figured I could offer some help ‘putting it out’.

As I was organizing my makeshift kitchen I thought about the many chefs and cooks I have heard discussing plans to open their own catering business. Financial independence, the freedom to make all of the decisions and the ability to “do it my way” are a great lure for the talented culinarian. The conventional thought is that you can set out on your own with a few chafing dishes and a collection of pans.

While the promise of an easy start up business seems appealing, the reality of operating even a small catering venue can be headaches, hang-ups and hardships. An experienced caterer knows that there are ‘dry spells’ around every corner as well as dates that are double and even triple booked. Balancing this ‘roller coaster’ type business is challenging but is the key to success in the catering industry. The number one reason that food service establishments fail is a lack of capital. Simply put, not saving enough money to survive the down times.

Starting a home based catering business

With the proper financial plan in place, your next considerations should be menu offerings and equipment. The tools you’ll need will be determined by the type of fare that’s offered. Whether it’s buffet foods, fine appetizers or a combination of both, it’s essential to have the proper equipment to be successful. An elegant reception requires refined utensils and serving trays, while a booth at a country fair needs far fewer amenities. Purchasing new equipment when ‘times are good’ will allow you to expand your offerings. Remember that a new grill or a portable fryer are investments that should return dividends.

The most challenging aspect in catering is finding clients. Keeping a steady cash flow to your business is the most vital element for prosperity. Establishing the style of catering you are equipped for will aid you in marketing your business. Their are many advertising mediums available for every occasion and event, many of which are free. Finding what is most beneficial to you and your business will produce business leads and connections.

George Washington Carver said “Learn to do common things uncommonly well.” – Add that to a friendly attitude, the ability to work effectively in a stressful environment and a business oriented focus, you’ll have all that you need to make your vision transpire

Salads for Spring

With the warmer weather of spring, the switch to lighter fare has begun. That change in dining habits translates to dinner offerings that are perceived as not so ‘heavy’. Dinner salads are the preferred choice of diner’s looking for fewer calories while still enjoying a satisfying meal.

It’s no surprise that ‘Entree Salads’ are on the top of the menu choices. The high demand for unique salad combinations has restaurants scrambling for new ideas to keep their salad menus fresh and trendy. Being able to mix and match so many different ingredients can only inspire the chef to create interesting flavor combinations along with texture variations.

With a little thought, you can add new items to your menu without having to make drastic changes. The traditional Greek Salad can be served as a dinner sized portion and crowned with a marinated lamb kabob. A Caprese Salad paired with Italian herbed grilled shrimp! Combining some of your restaurants center of the plate items with salad offerings is a great way to keep your menu seasonally up to date.

The hottest trend in salads today is an idea that’s been around for decades. The taco salad is a Mexican inspired dish which first appeared in America in the 1960s. It is traditionally served as a fried flour tortilla shell stuffed with shredded iceberg lettuce and topped with diced tomato, shredded Cheddar cheese, sour cream and guacamole. Add seasoned ground beef or shredded chicken for a hearty Mexican inspired dish.

Today, with the availability of such a wide range of ingredients, the taco salad is anything but traditional. Consider a crispy fried tortilla shell filled with mixed mesclun greens and topped with buffalo fried chicken and gorgonzola cheese crumbles, or strips of your favorite fish, battered, deep-fried and topped with your creamy house dressing and shredded cheddar cheese.

These delicious edible ‘bowls’ are easy to make and are versatile enough that you can add a new special for them everyday. With a little practice you can learn to make your bowls different shapes. Experiment with fry baskets and similar tools to find what different styles you can create. Achieve a signature salad by developing a one-of-a-kind dish that your customers will only be able to find at your restaurant. This will keep them coming back for more while earning you top dollar!!

Marching on to St Patricks Day

With Valentines Day’s passing, restaurant managers and chefs need to focus on the next big dining occasion. St Patricks Day is the next feast on the menu, and Corned beef and cabbage tops the bill of fare.

While it’s not traditional in Ireland, corned beef is what most Americans prepare for St. Patrick’s Day feasts. Despite Ireland being a major beef producer during colonial times, most Irish did not regularly consume corned beef. This was due to the fact that the beef cattle were owned by the British colonists and not by the Irish , and that most, if not all, of the corned beef was exported. The majority of Irish that resided in Ireland at the time maintained a diet of mainly dairy and pork.

During the late 1700′s and early 1800′s, the United States experienced a tidal-wave of Irish immigration. With beef brisket being considered a ‘meal of luxury’ back in their home country, corned beef became a staple in the Irish populations diet in America where it was inexpensive and plentiful. Thus the association with corned beef and St. Patrick’s day celebrations.

Not all of your restaurants patrons will like the heavily textured, full flavor of a traditional boiled corned beef dinner. Guinness battered fish and chips is a popular alternative for your guests to enjoy, and adding a ‘little bit of green’ to a meal can be as simple as attaching an Irish sounding name to any of your entrees.

A Valentine for the Chef

Originally observed as a day to honor martyred Christians named Valentine, Saint Valentines Day has become a day to celebrate love and affection. The first written association of Valentines Day with romance was in 1382. Geoffry Chaucer penned a poem titled ‘Parlement Of Foules’.

He wrote, “For this was Saint Valentine’s Day, when every bird cometh there to choose his mate”. This poem was written to commemorate the first anniversary of the engagement of King Richard II to Anne of Bohemia. This was the beginning of the Valentines Day traditions that we practice today.

Dining out is one of the most popular ways to show your loved ones that they are dear to your heart. That means that the chef is going to be exceptionally busy right around the middle of February. Reservations are lined up for romantic dinners for two and happy family celebrations. There is extra prep work to be done and menu planning for such an important date is critical for success. There is little time left for any ‘personal plans’ and what little free time you have is usually spent resting up for the next day.

With all of the stress and craziness that goes on behind the scenes, busy chefs need to know they are loved too! So, How do you show that the chef in your life is special? Usually the first thing that a chef wants is ‘A day off to spend with their family’- (We posted this question on facebook and that was the most popular response!) – Other things that a chef might want for Valentine’s Day are a Trivet with a Valentines motif or a Heart Shaped Casserole.

Chef’s love to cook and when it comes to making a special dish for that special someone, a Valentine Cookbook would offer a wide selection of romantic dinner ideas. A new set of pans would make preparation a breeze and a top notch dessert plate would wrap up your intimate dinner with elegant style.

Rarely does the person in charge of the kitchen get the opportunity to dine out at their favorite restaurant. So after the tables are cleared, the guests have departed and the chef finally gets his long anticipated day off from the busy kitchen, treat them to what they really want most of all – a friendly restaurant and some quality time with the ones they love!

What A Chef Wants For Christmas

When I was a little Chef I always wanted a Little Cook Kitchen Tool Kit , that’s how I knew i wanted to be a chef. Everyone else knew I wanted to be a chef too because one year I got a Toys for Chefs book. (I didn’t ask for that!) I would have much rather had a Mario Batali Wind Up Chef or an all in one kitchen from Educo .

But, now that i am a grown up chef I need big chef presents. One thing that I saw and I think that I would use all the time is Stainless Steel Soap . This cool chef gadget gets rid of the smell of garlic and onions from my hands, and you know how my wife doesn’t like that. Also I saw a really cool Whimsical Watch which would help out in the kitchen, timing is such an important part of my job. Another thing that caught my eye were these Chef’s Knives Sterling Silver Cufflinks , I do like chef jewelry .

There are a few other things on my chef’s Christmas list. I do have that “high tech chef” side of me, so a brand new Kindle reader would be a great way to start a cookbook library for myself without sacrificing too much space. MasterCook software is a super convenient way to store and manage my own recipes so that is a must have item for me this year and I could probably use a 2GB Sub Sandwich Flash Drive .

It wouldn’t be Christmas without something “Christmasy” under the tree. I was thinking that we should probably get the 2010 Hallmark Keepsake Ornament , or even a wintery kind of sweatshirt, you know, one that a chef would like! It would keep me warm in the morning when I head off to the kitchen.

Well if I haven’t been as ‘nice’ as I should have been, then i guess just a pair ofnice chef pants , and perhaps a Hell’s Kitchen Style Chef Jacket or two are always things that a chef needs.

Thanks for listening and I’ll try to be a nicer chef this year.

Chef Randy

P.S.
I need more Pots & Pans

*****CHEF STOCKING STUFFER SHELLFISH STEAMER BAGS

Bullying and Harrasment Policy

Two often overlooked issues in the restaurant businesss are sexual harassment and bullyism.

Often an employee may be afraid to speak up against a bully or predator for fear of reprisal. Having a dual policy, covering bullying and sexual harassment, in place for your restaurant or any workplace is not only good sense but it may also be the law.

Knowing your states requirements and enforcing a  written policy will serve as protection in the event that your establishment becomes involved in any legal proceedings.

Bullying has come to the forefront of social awareness in recent years. It can ‘bring down’ the entire staff leading to slower production times, a lower quality of product and eventually fewer customers.

‘Playful banter’ and harmless flirting have always been prevalent in a fast paced restaurant environment, but learning to recognize when the behavior has become uncomfortable for others is key to curbing unwanted and unwelcomed consequences.